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Faith endures amid challenges posed by Covid-19

Wisdom and grace of faith shall provide strength to humans to overcome dreadful hardships during the pandemic

Father Peter Tran Trong Khuong

Father Peter Tran Trong Khuong

Published: July 27, 2021 04:09 AM GMT

Updated: July 27, 2021 04:10 AM GMT

Faith endures amid challenges posed by Covid-19

Mater Unitatis sisters pray at their chapel in Vietnam's Thai Nguyen province. (Photo courtesy of Mater Unitatis)

The Covid-19 pandemic is attacking human society at its core, triggering a human, economic and social crisis across the world since the first outbreak at Wuhan in China in early December 2019.

The global health crisis has not only put health systems under tremendous pressure but countries have imposed lockdowns, social distancing, contact tracing, massive tests and so on to slow down and contain the deadly virus.

Countries hope to get people’s lives back to normal by achieving herd immunity through vaccinations.

Scientists have been researching to invent the optimal vaccine while constantly updating and sharing most effective treatment regimens. 

Religious organizations temporarily suspended public services and moved online. Followers pray for the coronavirus outbreak to end soon at their religious leaders’ request. Priests privately celebrate daily Masses to pray for human beings.

Considering each stage of the Covid-19 outbreaks, it can be said that people have partly contained and repelled the pandemic but are not able to take full control of the situation.

In such a dark, tragic time, Catholics' faith is being challenged seriously on a daily basis since reason is questioning faith

The pandemic has had disastrous impacts and becomes more complicated with each passing day. The infection rate of new strains is faster, more complicated and virulent. Post-vaccination infections continue and the world is far from achieving herd immunity.

In such a dark, tragic time, Catholics' faith is being challenged seriously on a daily basis since reason is questioning faith. Each person, with his or her limited mind and understanding, has the right to question faith:

— The Eternal Lord is present, so does he hear people’s desperate prayers?

— Since the disease broke out, the more we have prayed, the more complicated and severe the disease has become. Does our prayer work?

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— People’s lives, especially the poor, are getting more and more miserable as the pandemic stubbornly persists. Why does Divine Mercy remain silent?

And there are still lots of other questions that people ask in order to find out answers from their own faith.

How does faith fully answer those questions posed by reason? The first answer of faith is TIME. No one knows how long it takes to stem the pandemic or when people will defeat Covid-19 with new medical therapies or they will practice and develop new skills to adapt and live with the coronavirus. At that time, we will have the right to say: Our prayer for the victory over the pandemic has come true, and God has answered.

It is because of time that faith of believers must be put to the test and refined. They should have their faith loyalty to God tested.

One thing that must be affirmed is that epidemics, wars, natural disasters, floods, droughts, poverty and diseases all come from human society, are created by people intentionally or unintentionally, or are caused by the result of people’s negative impacts on the environment.

Surely, they are not from God. Therefore, we cannot blame God much less can we upbraid him for remaining completely indifferent to people’s current terrible situation. On the contrary, each person has to bitterly reproach and criticize themselves.

It is because we are really unaware of and do not implement properly and have absolute confidence in God’s teachings that are kept and communicated to people through the Church. People remain coldly indifferent to church teaching.

The Church passes on a multitude of moral teachings on clear conscience, chastity, justice, charity, temperance, courage, moral principles for scientific research, peace, war, conflict, and comprehensive solutions to them, ways of building society, health systems and community care.

If people believe, practice and live according to the Magisterium of the Church, the pandemic and other acute problems will be driven out of human society.

It is a matter of regret that the fight against Covid-19 did not turn out as expected. That is why faith continues to be tested

The pandemic will be stemmed if public policies, decisions and precautionary measures by government leaders come from good conscience, true wisdom without being negatively influenced by other factors — political and economic interests, group interests, social position and prestige in the international arena.

Also important will be people strictly obeying health instructions.

It is a matter of regret that the fight against Covid-19 did not turn out as expected. That is why faith continues to be tested. Furthermore, God himself must remain patient with people, rather than people waiting for God’s intervention in the disease.

Why do we dare say this? It is perfectly reasonable to say so because God creates and gives people enough wisdom and abilities to win. God is patiently waiting for people to use the wisdom he places in them to defeat the pandemic, and to overcome various other problems.

It is crucially important that we must seriously appeal to God to give us the gift of wisdom and teach us how to use wisdom in accordance with his will.

It’s not to ask for a miracle from God’s power to curb the pandemic. Surely God will use his loving power to intervene against the health crisis in his way only when the situation goes beyond our ability.

Understanding in this way will help the pain wear off, and we will stand firm in faith and be courageous to tackle all thorny issues in our daily life.

Realizing this, our reason no longer questions our faith, no longer complains to or doubts God. On the contrary, wisdom and the grace of faith together create strength for us to bravely and confidently continue moving forward amid the dreadful hardships of the pandemic.

This article was summarized and translated by a UCA News reporter from a Vietnamese article published on giaophanmytho.net here.

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